Precinct1313’s Top Ten Favourite Comic-Book Covers Of All Time: No.10 – Dark Knight III, Bill Sienkiewicz Variant
Welcome fellow fans of fantastic fiction to our top ten countdown of the Precinct’s favourite comic-book covers of all time. As we near the end of a rather interminable and excruciating year, let’s relax for awhile and take in some absolutely astounding art from some of the coolest creators in comic history. At #10 stands the bombastic Bill Sienkiewicz’s hauntingly beautiful variant cover for Frank Miller’s mythic return to Batman with – Dark Knight III: The Master Race.
The original Dark Knight Returns saga by Frank Miller was a defining moment for The Batman, Miller’s alternate take on the much loved Superhero cast the character in an even more extreme grim, gritty and violent setting, with the caped crusader himself a dour and sullen character whose inner demons continually haunt him as the weight of age and a life of brutal violence takes its toll. We follow an ageing Bruce Wayne as he struggles with these psychological demons, and attempts to hold back his rage and inefficacy through alcohol addiction and suicidal abandon of his life through varying extreme motor sports.
Miller’s authoritative 80’s series, alongside classics – Watchmen and V For Vendetta, shook up an atrophying comic book industry and presented a more adult and psychologically emotional depth to Superhero comics, defining the future of the industry in a monumental way.
Miller returned to his raison d’etre in the 2001 follow up mini series The Dark Knight Strikes Again, yet, unlike its groundbreaking predecessor, this was not favourably received by fans or critics alike (myself included) the book was little more than a parody of previous events, and Miller’s artwork had taken a severe downturn in quality.
Jump forward 17 years and Dark Knight III: The Master Race debuted, the newest chapter in the alternative Bat-verse, and it was… mostly OK, I guess, unfortunately the original series was such a phenomenon that any subsequent take has fared rather badly, unable to match the originals magnificence.
That said, there were some defining moments (mostly visual) in this ongoing series that certainly took the breath away from this particular Bat-fan, and this gorgeous Bill Sienkiewicz variant cover is one of those marvellous moments. It sublimely evokes a man haunted by his past, a broken figure who has ultimately accepted his failing to protect the city and people he loves, yet will fight on even though it almost certainly mean his own demise… this image, to me, defines The Batman irrevocably, and contains more emotional substance than both the second and third chapters of the Dark Knight trilogy put together.
Why not join us again next time fellow agents of Precinct1313, for our continuing countdown of commendable comic cover collectables!
Posted on December 20, 2020, in Comics and tagged Bill Sienkiewicz, DC Comics, Frank Miller, Precinct1313's Top Ten Favourite Comic-Book Covers Of All Time, The Dark Knight Returns. Bookmark the permalink. 8 Comments.